Remember when Geno Smith made his mark on the NFL? This week’s New York Jets-Atlanta Falcons game is eerily similar to that prime-timer.
The Atlanta Falcons enter the game with a 3-3 record. The defending NFC Champions started their season with three straight wins against the NFC North, defeating the Packers at home and the Lions and Bears on the road.
Since then, Atlanta has lost three straight, all coming against the AFC East. The New York Jets are the fourth straight AFC East opponent that the Falcons face as they finish off the AFC part of their 2017 schedule.
The Falcons seem to be suffering from what their fellow NFC South division rivals faced last season. After posting a 15-1 record in dominating the NFL, the Carolina Panthers lost to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl LV and suffered through a 6-10 record in 2016.
The “Super Bowl Hangover” appears to be making its way through Atlanta this season.
After leading the NFL with 540 points scored last season (averaging 33.8 PPG), the Falcons offense has taken a major step back this season. They went 91 minutes and 20 seconds without scoring covering a span from Week 6 to Week 7. Against the Patriots last week in a Super Bowl rematch, they entered the Red Zone four times, but only scored on one of those visits. The last time they had three scoreless visits to the Red Zone was in 2006.
For the season, the Falcons are averaging just 21.8 PPG. That is 12 points fewer than they averaged in 2016.
What does that mean for the New York Jets?
The Falcons offense is still very explosive and capable of dominating an opponent like they did in their first three games when they averaged 29.0 PPG.
The New York Jets are dealing with issues of their own, coming off excruciating losses to the Patriots at home and on the road against the Miami Dolphins where they were unable to hold a 14-point fourth quarter lead.
One positive for the Jets is that the Falcons were in a very similar situation the last time these two teams faced each other in 2013.
The Falcons were coming off a 13-3 season in which they finished with the best record in the NFC. Matt Ryan threw for a career-high 32 TD and 4,719 yards (the only season he threw for most in both categories was last season -38 TD and 4,944 yards).
Just like this season, they were coming off consecutive losses to the Dolphins and Patriots. Sitting at 1-3 the Falcons season was on the brink of getting away from them, which a loss to the Jets at home on Monday Night Football would almost definitely ensure.
Just like the 2017 version of the New York Jets, not much was expected of the 2013 team. Most experts picked the Jets to finish with the worst record in the NFL. However, through four games the Jets record stood at 2-2.
Knowing how much was on the line for the home team, most experts predicted the Falcons would get healthy against the Jets. However, the Jets came out on fire, and when Geno Smith connected with Kellen Winslow Jr. for his third TD pass of the game, the Jets had a 13-point lead with 12 minutes remaining.
With their season on the brink of slipping away, the Falcons rallied, scoring 14 consecutive points to go ahead 28-27 with 1:54 left. Considering the history and current talent of their opponent, most fans watching that game figured it was over. However, Geno Smith rallied the road team and when Nick Folk connected on a 43-yard FG as time expired, the Jets had a 30-28 win.
Not much has changed heading into this matchup, as the 3-3 Falcons are on the verge of watching their season slip away from them. What will be the result this time?